Israel Trip May 27-28, 2014

Here we go again to the Givati Brigade Family Reunion.  Dr. Vineyard invited me to go a few weeks ago.  He had undergone hip replacement and after the surgery, he had a bad battle with congestive heart failure.  I was so excited when his health started to return and he asked me to go to Israel with him.  Then I learned that my father-in-law, Adrian Van Manen was also going to go with us on this trip.  He has never been to Israel before and I know that he is very excited about what we are going to see and do while we are in the land that was promised to Abraham and his seed forever.  I want to thank everyone that gave to help him pay for this trip.  My father-in-law has been a faithful servant of the Lord for many years and I have to say that he is the most loyal man I know.  When I was a boy I read a lot of Louis L’Amour books and he would write about men that rode for the brand.  That phrase is personified in Adrian Van Manen.
Also with us on this trip is Jimmy Post my adopted nephew from Ivory Coast.  What a blessing it has been watching him grow into a fine young man.  He just graduated from OBC at the top of his class.  It was a special blessing that his father, my friend Dan Post, was able to preach the charge at his ordination service.
In order to get everyone and their luggage to the airport we decided to take my Suburban.  Brother Smaistrla generously volunteered his time to go with us so that he could drive the Suburban back to the house.
We left the Van Manen’s house at 03:10 to drive to the OBC dorm and get Jimmy Post.  He was ready and waiting in the parking lot at 03:20 when we arrived.  We drove out to Dr. Vineyard’s house and picked him up so that we could get to the airport and get checked in for our 06:00 a.m. departure.
After we got checked in and found our way to our gate, we discovered that due to thunder storms in Texas the Houston Airport was closed to all inbound and outbound air traffic.  I worked the phones to make sure that we were not going to get stuck somewhere overnight. We missed our connecting flight from Houston to Newark and that meant that we would miss our flight from Newark to Tel Aviv.  However, I was able to find a later flight that would suit our needs.  I was able to get it worked out just as we were boarding in OKC.  I was walking down the ramp as I was confirming our plans from Houston to Tel Aviv.
On our “final” approach to Houston the pilot pulled up at the last second.  He had overshot the runway due to a tail wind that exceeded our aircraft’s ability.  I am glad it did not exceed our pilot’s ability.  We circled around Houston a few times and then he tried it again.  I do not like to hear a pilot say, “Let’s try that again.”  In flying, “Do or do not, there is no try!”
We went straight to customer service and got new boarding passes.  I was able to get us upgraded to Economy Plus for no charge because of the inconveniences of the day.  Dr. Vineyard said it is good to travel with a wheeler-dealer.
We boarded the flight in Houston on time and then sat on the runway for about two hours.  We were all beginning to wonder what was happening when the pilot came over the loud speaker and said that everything was in order except that the copilot was missing.  They had tried to contact him by phone but he never answered and he never called to say why he did not show up on time.  They had to find a replacement and I think he must have been in bed in Nome, Alaska.  We did get in the air finally after one hour of sitting on the runway.
While we were in the Airport, I met an old Jewish man who was on his way home.  We began to talk and his daughter came over and joined in the conversation.  They had gone to the United States for her daughter’s graduation from Berkley in San Francisco.   The daughter had received a full scholarship to play basketball.  She graduated with honors.  The mother and grandfather were so proud of her.  Then we discovered that we knew her son.  He is a tour guide at the Givati Museum.  Dr. Vineyard showed the mother a photo of her son.  She was so shocked that we knew her son.   Jimmy sat next to the lady on the plane.
I wrote these words as we flew over the Atlantic Ocean.  We are nearing Tel Aviv right now and I will have to continue this narrative after we reach our hotel in Nazareth.   Who knows what great adventures we will find between here and there?
Well, after a couple hour drive we made it to Nazareth.  We got to the hotel and we were reunited with some of our good friends in the Givati.  Please pray that we will be able to be a blessing this week.
Have a great day and I will send some more news tomorrow.
Joe Consford